Culture is powerful, and you’re going to have one whether you like it or not.
Your company culture is the personality of your organization. It’s the vibe people feel when they work there and the way they describe your company to others. How is your company culture weathering the economical storm?
Culture is Even More Important Now
When it comes to company culture, you can be highly intentional about how you build it, carefully crafting exactly what you want, or you can allow your company culture to develop organically, which rarely works out very well.
The best organizations to work for are the ones that are the most intentional. They recognize that their company culture directly impacts their employee retention, productivity and revenue, and customer happiness, so they make it a priority. That’s a demanding task when times are good and extremely challenging when times are tough.
We can all agree that the last year (or more) has been a tough for most. Many businesses have been forced to downsize their staff or furlough their people, which often puts a dent in the contentment of those who remain. Also, employees who have never worked remotely before are forced to figure out how to achieve success from a makeshift home office without the people, systems, and support they normally depend on.
Most people would say that work feels different than it did before, which means a strong company culture is even more important now than it was before.
How to Rebuild Your Company Culture
For most companies, this is the time to either renovate or rebuild their cultures, so they’re ready for the “next normal.” To successfully adapt to the next leg of this journey, it’s critical that your employees are highly engaged, driven by a strong sense of purpose, and feel they have a stake in the game. That means you must get the culture piece right.
There are four Engagement Elevators you can use to lift employee engagement and “up” your culture right now. This is a great time to commit to a few actions that will help your people feel more engaged and purposeful in your work. Determine which one you want to start with and flag your calendar to make sure it gets done.
1. Shared Mission
Companies that identify and articulate a compelling mission find their employees have a greater passion to carry the load. Consider how you can use storytelling, even while working remotely, to reinforce where you have been and where you are going, so people feel part of the legacy.
2. People Development
Understanding the unique strengths and weaknesses of each person you manage allows you to put them in situations where they can use their talents and be most successful. People grow by as much as ten times when they coached in areas of their strengths. Consider how you can identify the talents of your people and maximize them — even if you cannot see them in the office every day.
3. Valued Voice
Organizations with top-notch cultures have leaders who demonstrate genuine respect for the thoughts and opinions of their people, actively seeking to understand them, and also transparently share back information of their own. Consider how you can increase two-way communication on your team, both sharing and listening more.
4. Earned Trust
When employees describe their leaders and the company with words like “authentic,” “legit,” and “genuine,” you know they have mastered the Earned Trust elevator, and they are who they say they are. Trust is fundamental to high performance and engagement. Consider whether the company people see when they go to your website is the same company they see when they show up for work. Is there a way to better live your core values?
Don’t let these unusual times drive your culture! Take this opportunity to be highly intentional. You can rebuild or restore your culture in a way that will boost employee engagement when they need it most.
*Editor's Note: This blog originally appeared on The Center for Sales Strategy bog in 2020.